Biggest threats facing SMEs in 2024 revealed by Allianz

New research by Allianz Commercial has found that inflation continues to be the biggest threat facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2024.

The recent survey of 500 SMEs revealed the top three threats to businesses are:

1. inflation and the cost of living (61% said they feel under threat)

2. state of the UK economy (51% said they feel under threat)

3. cash flow (31% said they feel under threat).

More than half of SMEs said they feel under threat from the state of the UK economy (51%), an increase of 18% from 33% in the past 12 months. While worries about Brexit have decreased from 25% since last year’s survey* to just 16%, concerns about cashflow have almost doubled from 16%, with respondents now rating it one of the biggest threats (31%).

75% of SMEs surveyed said that have been negatively impacted by the cost of living crisis, up from 71% in 2023.

Allianz’s research also identified the top business challenges facing SMEs in 2024, with the price of energy topping the list:
1. energy bills (37%)

2. competition (36%)

3. late payment / unpaid invoices (28%)

4. supply chain problems (24%)

5. staff (e.g. hiring, retaining) (24%).

Insurance
Despite concerns about inflation, in the past year only 19% of small business owners increased their sums insured and just 12% increased their insurance indemnity periods. The survey found that 42% of SMEs which own their premises do not know the rebuild value of their buildings. Of those who had calculated the rebuild value of their property, just over half (51%) had a professional valuation, whereas 39% used market value and 10% self-valued their property.

Alex Ktenidis, director of digital trading, Allianz Commercial, said:

“SMEs are clearly facing extremely challenging times so it’s understandable that business owners are looking to save where possible. Having the right level of insurance protection is crucial and brokers play a pivotal role in assisting small business owners to fully understand which insurance cover and indemnity levels are needed.”

Demonstrating that SMEs continue to adapt their businesses, the survey found that within the past year 21% had increased the number of products or services offered, 14% had moved from working at a business premises to working from home and 14% had increased the number of employees. Looking ahead, more than half (51%) of respondents said that they see potential for their business using artificial intelligence in the future, while 23% said the same for machine learning.

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This article was adapted from an article by Allianz which can be found here.